Lostprophets Live at Brixton Academy Review

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My most recent live encounter with Lostprophets at their Q Awards gig at The Forum in Kentish Town in October was for me, probably the worst live experience I have had in 7 years of seeing the Welsh 6 piece live, mainly due to the awful sound quality of the venue (nothing much wrong with the performance from Lostprophets, save one or two set list issues). With much higher hopes for the usually reliable sound system at Brixton Academy, myself and my lovely wife headed off to Brixton to see how the first headlining tour for The Betrayed would unfold.

First up were Hexes, a five piece that I knew nothing about prior to this evenings’ show. Their music displays a fierce aggressive streak, no more so than on one of their tracks where the song is proceeding by an intro tape that almost entirely consists of four letter words ending in a very loud declaration of “C***”, which may have shocked a few of the younger attendees (and a few of the older ones for that matter). The particular highlight of Hexes for me was the drumming, which was consistently varied and got heavier with every song of their 5 song set with some awesome double pedals towards the end. A satisfactory opening.

I also knew nothing of main support Kids In Glass Houses, save for the fact they’re signed to Roadrunner and seem to attract a lot of attention and talk on Twitter in recent times. I was clearly in the minority however as they seemed to be a very popular choice of support. Another band to emerge from the Welsh rock and metal revolution of recent years, they had the crowd singing and bouncing along with their energetic songs and singer Aled Phillips has a very good voice. KIGH must be the least heavy band on the Roadrunner roster, but on this showing it is quite easy to see their appeal. With a new album due out next month and their own headlining tour in May, you could easily see them stepping up to take the on hiatus/disbanded (depending on what you believe) Fall Out Boy’s position at the top of the punk pop tree. Watch this space for KIGH.

With The Betrayed having sold very well in the UK (hitting no3 on the album charts in the first week of release) it was going to be very interesting to see how much of the set would be from the new material. At the Q Awards show, they relied too much on the (then unknown) new songs, basing 1/3 of the show on new unfamiliar songs and it didn’t seem to be the wisest move. Tonight, kicking off with The Betrayed’s opener “If it wasn’t for hate we’d be dead by now” it is clear that almost everyone in attendance seems to be extremely familiar with the new album. They immediately launch into opening single from the new album “It’s Not The End Of The World But I Can See It From Here”, followed by old favourite Burn Burn for a high energy start to the show.

Lostprophets live at Brixton Academy

“London, are you ready to have a good time?!” is the only remark early on from an uncharacteristically quiet Ian Watkins, but the banter levels would increase as the show went on. New songs Darkest Blue and A Better Nothing go down well (A Better Nothing in particular) before a fantastic heavy remix cover of The Prodigy’s Omen has the whole of Brixton Academy going mental. The metal side of things kept coming with the 2 heaviest songs from the betrayed Dystyr/Dystyr and Next Stop Atro City see heads banging both upstairs and downsides either side of a trip back to first album The Fake Sound of Progress for A Thousand Apologies.

The hugely popular Can’t Catch Tomorrow from last album Liberation Transmission had old ladies singing and dancing in the aisles upstairs as things took a more singalong approach for a little while. This carried on into the even more popular Last Summer, and then back to the new album with For He’s a Jolly Good Fellon. The very distinctive into riff from A Town Called Hypocrisy told everyone what was next, however they decided to mix in the opening 30 seconds to Faith No More’s The Real Thing just for a bit of fun before returning to their own song, and everyone downstairs obliged by going apeshit.

By this point, sizeable portions of the crowd had been chanting “Godzilla” in between songs for some considerable time. At The Betrayed album launch show at The Relentless Garage in London last month, Ian Watkins had promised those in attendance that the band would play “We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan” at the Brixton show. I guess a lot of people from The Garage show were in attendance because the chanting got louder every time. Ian Watkins mocked the crowd a few times for this, but after A Town Called Hypocrisy announced, “Let’s go back in time” before explaining the universal symbol for Godzilla is a claw, and summing it up with “wherever you are in the world, if you see this…..run like f**k!”. The band then launched into We Are Godzilla, which brought a sizeable moshpit into action. Seemingly eager to keep the momentum and the pits going, they brought out Last Train Home, before returning to singalong territory for new single Where We Belong.

They had been on stage for over an hour and a half but didn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down as the intro to Rooftops blasted out and every single person inside Brixton was singing along with that one, before the always classic Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja brought things to a close and the lights went down. During a show at the Hammersmith Palais back in November 2004, Ian Watkins said that “Lostprophets didn’t do encores, encores are for Metallica and Queenscryhe, and maybe Megadeth”. This has been true ever since, so I motioned to leave. So what did they do, they only went and played an encore. New album closer The Light That Shines Twice As Bright was quite a fitting encore, much in the tradition of how Fear Factory would often close with the sombre Timelessness.

As the masses poured out into Brixton, everyone was happy, myself included. The experience of Kentish Town long forgotten. The new material sounds fantastic now that it is familiar to everyone and with the new album the Prophets have really been able to freshen up their live act, having so many more songs to choose from now you are now not quite sure what you will get from them, which can only be a good thing. Roll on next time, an appearance at Sonisphere would go down rather well.

Lostprophets set list was:

If It Wasn’t For Hate, We’d Be Dead By Now
It’s Not The End Of The World, But I Can See It From Here
Burn Burn
Darkest Blue
A Better Nothing
Omen (Prodigy Cover)
DSTRYR/DSTRYR
A Thousand Apologies
Next Stop Atro City
Can’t Catch Tomorrow (Good Shoes Won’t Save You This Time)
For He’s A Jolly Good Fellon
The Real Thing (Faith No More Cover)/A Town Called Hypocrisy
We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan
Last Train Home
Where We Belong
Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)
Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja
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The Light That Shines Twice As Bright

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